A while back, I wrote a story about a house in Massachusetts that was built by our ancestor, James Noyes, who is my husband, Bob’s 7th great grandfather. Almost immediately, a cousin of ours, Paul Noyes told me that he had been there many times, and yet another cousin, David Noyes had been invited inside and had pictures. Of course, this was exactly what I was hoping for, because I wanted to talk about the interior of the home, but could not find any pictures online. So, I want to thank David for these beautiful pictures, and Paul for forwarding them to me, so that I can tell a little about the inside of this grand old house. My husband, Bob was sure that the interior had probably been renovated several times since the 1646 date that the house was built, but other than what has been documented, there is no indication of a massive remodel.
James Noyes, moved to and was co-founder of Newberry, Massachusetts in 1635, bringing with him, his wife Sarah Brown Noyes. Little was documented about where in Newbury they lived before the Noyes home was built in 1646, but the family grew by five children…Joseph, James, Sarah (who died at an unknown young age), Moses, and John. I would assume that their growing family was the reason for the large home to be built. Even with that, the home was not what we would consider large these days. The current home has five bedrooms, but it is my guess that the original probably had only three, a master bedroom for the parents, a bedroom for the boys, and a bedroom for the girls. The house was only one room deep in those years, and while it might have been somewhat small, I can only imagine what stories those walls would tell, if they could talk. My guess is that there would be stories of laughter, sadness, and crying as new babies joined the family. The family grew, with the additions of Thomas, Rebecca, William, and a second daughter named Sarah, after her mother and the first Sarah, who had passed away.
James and Sarah lived in the house for the remainder of their days, during which time the house saw children come into the family, and children marry and move away, returning now and again to share their children with their parents. Then on October 22, 1656, just seven months after his second daughter named Sarah, was born, James passed away. The house saw the sadness of a family in mourning for its patriarch. Sarah became the head of the family then, and so it remained until her passing on September 13, 1691. James and Sarah were blessed with at least 47 grandchildren…not all of whom lived very long unfortunately. Not much is said about what the children did with the home after their mother’s passing, but while it has been home to a number of families over the many years since it was built, it remains an important historical home and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. There were some changes, which added size to the home making it a five bedroom home at this present time. The last time the home was sold was in 2010, and it is my assumption that it was the current owners who allowed our cousin David Noyes to have a tour and take the pictures I now have of this beautiful home.
As an insurance agent and living in Wyoming, which does not have the history that some of my ancestors built in the east, when I think of an old house, something in the 1910s comes to mind, but in reality, that is not an old house at all. In fact, by comparison to Bob’s 7th great grandfather, Reverend James Noyes’ house, a home built in 1910 would be considered brand new. The house James Noyes built was, and still is located at 7 Parker Street in Newberry, Massachusetts…a small town of about 7,000 people located in Essex County. It is really a suburb of Newburyport, which has a population of about 18,000. Newbury is situated in the Northeast corner of Massachusetts, near the coast. Newbury was founded by Reverend James Noyes and his cousin Reverend Thomas Parker, who were English clergymen who immigrated to the United States. James Noyes was educated at Oxford, before relocating to Massachusetts in 1634. He spent a short time in Medford, before moving to Newbury to pastor a church there from 1635 until his death. He sailed aboard the Mary and John of London, accompanied by the Hercules on March 23, 1634 with his wife Sarah Noyes, brother Reverend Nicholas Noyes and cousin Reverend Thomas Parker. Newbury was originally named Newbury Plantation, and was incorporated in 1635.
The house that Reverend James Noyes built in 1646, is a historic First Period house, and was added to the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 1990. First Period houses have a steeply pitched roof, a slightly asymmetrical plan, and a central chimney. The first period house is distinguished from later houses by its exposed…often decorated or beveled frame in the interior. Some early windows in modest houses may have had no glazing, but the standard first period window, until at least 1700, was the diamond-paned casement. The main block of the James Noyes house is a 2½ story wood frame structure, five bays wide, with a large central chimney. When the house was first built, it was only a single room deep. Then, around 1800 a 2½ story cross gabled addition was added to the rear, which was further extended by a 1½ story addition later in the 19th century. The interior rooms of the main block have Federal period styling, probably dating to the time of the first addition.
I’m sure that to many people the idea of a house built in 1646 that is still standing is, at best a novelty, but when you couple that with the fact that it was built by one of your ancestors, it becomes a little bit more interesting. My mind wanders back to what life might have been like for them in that home in the mid 1600s. Of course, there were no modern amenities, such as a bathroom, dishwasher, refrigerator, modern stove, and other such conveniences, but it was still a pretty house for the era, I’m sure. While it was originally quite a bit smaller, but with the additions, it is now 4200 square feet and has six bedrooms. I have looked around online to see if there are any pictures of the interior of the home, but found none to date. Maybe we will have to visit there sometime, but until then, I will just have to be happy knowing that a home built by our ancestor, and a founder of Newbury, Massachusetts is still stand, still in good condition, and still being occupied by a family, who is making memories of their own there.
The Noyes side of Bob’s family was a family of prominence. The American side of the family begins with the Reverend William Noyes who was born in England in 1568. While William remained in England all his life, two of his children and a distant cousin left England and immigrated to America, settling in the Massachusetts area. The occupations included ministers of the Gospel, doctors, and commissioned army officers. One interesting fact is that in nearly every generation, there were two siblings who married siblings from another family. I have seen this is many families, including my own, and it makes me wonder if part of the reason is that there were fewer people around with children of suitable age to marry the children of a family. This might have been the case, especially when families began to move out west. In the history of the Noyes family that points out these siblings marrying siblings of another family, I find that Dr James III married Ann Sanford, who was the daughter of Governor Peleg and Mary Sanford, and his brother, Colonel Thomas Noyes married Ann’s sister, Elizabeth Sanford. While this is a bit unusual, it does happen, and there is nothing wrong with it. The fact that it happened about once a generation is a bit more unusual, but I guess it could be that these siblings had similar taste in mates.
One of the main reasons that some of the Noyes men moved to American is the same as the reason that many of the first settlers came to America…religious differences with the Church of England. The United States has always been a country that prides itself of personal and religious freedoms. James, who is my husband, Bob’s 7th great grandfather, and who was born in England in 1608, married Sarah Brown, and they immigrated to America, and shortly thereafter, he became one of the founders of Newbury, Massachusetts, where he and his wife settled. He was a minister of the Gospel there for twenty years, and was very well liked in the area. His memory is still precious there to this day.
The Reverend James II, who is my husband, Bob’s 6th great grandfather, and who is the second son of James I and Sarah, followed in the footsteps of his dad, as a minister of the Gospel. His biggest claim to fame is that he bore an active part in the founding of Yale College, and his name was the first of “Ten of the principal ministers in the colony, nominated and agreed upon by general consent both of the ministers and people to stand as Trustees or Undertakers, to found, erect and govern a college.” He was selected to be one of the first trustees and founders of Yale. By this time he was an old man and lived in a remote part of the county, but his influence was considered essential to the undertaking. During his ministry he is noted to have baptized one thousand one hundred and seventy-six persons.
Deacon Noyes, who is the fifth son of Reverend James Noyes II, and Bob’s 5th great grandfather, married Dorothy Stanton, which is part of the reason I have to wonder in there is a connection between my dad’s half brother’s mother, Edna Stanton, and Bob’s family through Dorothy Stanton. My grandfather, Allen Spencer, and Edna Stanton Spencer had a daughter, who they named Dorothy, and that along with the name Stanton, gives one reason to wonder. I am encouraged a little bit in my search, in that the Noyes family kept good family records. I hope this will be a useful when it comes to a possible connection between the Stantons of the Noyes family, and the Stanton of the Spencer family. Whatever happens, I find that the Noyes family were honorable people of distinction. They were active in their communities, loved and respected, making them a great American family.